Tom Ricketts searches for new GM

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Friday that the search for Jim Hendry's replacement as general manager begins immediately, but there's no timeline for when the position will be filled.

Hendry was fired on July 22, but he stuck around to help the team navigate its way through the July 31 trading deadline and to help with signing of draft picks. His dismissal was made public Friday.

"The search for a new general manager effectively begins today," Ricketts said. "I will be reaching out over the next few days to industry veterans and people who have been through this situation before to get their thoughts and opinions on what I should be doing and what I should be looking for.

"Those conversations in combination with our own evaluations and analysis will help us narrow down our list of prospective candidates shortly and we'll work diligently to get the right person into the baseball organization as soon as it's practical. I don't have a timeline for that. There's no date set. We'll just play the cards we're dealt in terms of timing and get someone in as fast as we can."

Ricketts said he'll be looking for a candidate with strong player development skills and a winning track record.

"When I look at the candidates, I kind of see a couple of criteria," Ricketts said. "I see No. 1 they'll have to share a commitment to player development, which obviously is the key to consistent success. I think we can look for guys that have a little stronger analytical background than maybe some of the guys we have here. Someone who has worked with some of the new tools, that would be a plus.

"And then someone who's been in a winning culture and who can bring the lessons of that over and has a track record of success. The sabermetric stuff is important, but it's just a piece. We're not running the baseball organization by a computer model. "

Ricketts said the new GM will report directly to him, implying there won't be a new president of baseball operations overseeing the organization. Philadelphia Phillies special adviser Pat Gillick had said he would be open to joining a new club, but only in a president-level capacity.

Assistant general managers won't be excluded, Ricketts said. That could open the door for Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn, who was a finalist for the New York Mets GM position and is considered a top GM prospect.

"There obviously are some good assistant general managers out there," Ricketts said."If one of them has an interest then we would speak to them, but at this point I'm not ruling out anything."

Ricketts also said the team will be very careful about long-term contracts in the future. Hendry's long-term deals with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano are seen as Hendry mistakes.